As an incoming freshman, the name speaks for itself, you are seduced into a world where others make you believe that your life will only get better from here since everyone with a college degree can find a job, start a career, afford to live the lives of their dreams.
Once you get a taste of the environment, the independence, the abundance of networking opportunities, you will agree to anything in order to stay. Once you start applying for financial aid and other assistance programs, you are convinced that you will easily be able to repay the loans since your education will pay for itself. You know this to be fact because it was written on page after page that you were given during your campus tour and again once you officially enter the campus as an incoming freshman.
Unlike many other who are earning a decent living not working in the field in which their studies were, I am struggling to feed, cloth and diaper my family hustling in my field of study, as well as any and every other field in which I have experience.
I do intend on paying back the loans but my income is barely enough to care for my family. I have made payments when I can but find that the amount I am able to pay do not even dissolve the ever-increasing interest. My monthly payments start at eight times the amount that I could possibly afford on a regular basis once diapers are no longer a part of my budget. Deferring my payments due to my financial hardship for as long as I can until I have a much larger and much more stable source of income is all that I can really do until repaying the large and voluptuous minimum payments is possible.
At the rate I am going, my student loan probably will not be paid off until I am dead or win the lottery, which I do not play because a dollar can still put air in my tires or buy a treat.
I did not catch a clue until it was too late. If you have yet to start college be wise from the get go: (1) take as much as possible at the junior or city college because it is the same only cheaper and will not make a difference on your diploma; (2) then once you transfer to a university, pay for as much as you can and only accept financial aid grants that do not need to be paid back; and also (3) state that you are interested in federal work projects or internships because you will only be able to go so far networking with your peers until they make it big, at least you will have your foot in a few other doors. I really do stress the first one: take only what you need.
The student loans that I took out definitely were not worth it. I felt like they were at the time because I did not want to say no to any money that was being offered to me. If you must accept a loan that needs to be repaid, only take what you need. If your education ever pays off, statistically it will not happen fast enough for you to avoid the jacked up interest rates that literally multiple the amount of money that you owe.
Owing that much money not only makes it impossible to contemplate buying a car, house, vacationing and the like once you have finally found a job but it adds unnecessary stress to your life. And having health issues are yet another frustrating an expensive arena that sets you up to lose.
With the state of the economy, universities are more interested in out-of-state students who automatically pay higher fees will accept more in loans because they are not close to friends or family, as well as incoming freshman since they are more likely to accept everything that they are offered without reading the fine print and are entitled to more financial assistance and in turn make more money for the universities.
I definitely have benefited intellectually from my education, met some people who are still a part of my life, experienced moments that would not have happened otherwise, but the burden of being in debt from the moment I graduated out shines the great memories that still remain.
Let’s not forget those who achieve student loan debt through pursuing higher education but never obtain a degree. It’s ok to make stop along the way but know your destination before you start the race otherwise you run the risk of being blindly led through someone else’s maze.